Blog Archives

Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads was most famous for being Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist on the albums “Blizzard of Oz” and “Diary of a madman”, Ozzy’s first albums since splitting with Black Sabbath.  Randy played guitar for the band “Quiet Riot” before joining Ozzy’s band and was also a dedicated classical guitar player and would seek out classical guitar lessons whilst on tour.  Randy was one of the first “schooled” rock guitarists and had a deep knowledge of music theory, composition, and guitar techniques.  This coupled with his natural musicality combined to make him one of the greatest guitarists ever.  Randy was tragically killed in a plane crash on March 19, 1982.  In 1987 Ozzy released “Tribute”   a live recording of Ozzy and Randy in concert plus some studio out-takes.  Have a listen to the clip above to hear Randy playing both in a classical style and also some great lead guitar.  The solo at around 2 mins 40 secs is a masterpiece.  Enjoy.

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Joe Pass

One of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century Joe Pass was known for his chord melodies, walking bass lines, and, outstanding knowledge of chord inversions and progressions.  New York Magazine said of him, “Joe Pass looks like somebody’s uncle and plays guitar like nobody’s business. He’s called “the world’s greatest” and often compared to Paganini for his virtuosity. There is a certain purity to his sound that makes him stand out easily from other first-rate jazz guitarists”.

Wilko Johnson

 

Wilko Johnson played guitar for Dr Feelgood and the Blockheads amongst others.  He has an unusual style of playing particularly with his right hand, no pick, which allowed him to play an aggressive punchy style of guitar whilst combining rhythm and lead.  He also had a long curly lead which allowed him to follow his guitar around the stage.  Check out Wilko explaining his style to BBC show rock school and then watch him perform the whole song in the bottom video.

Eddie Hazel

Eddie Hazel was the guitar player for Parliamant-Funkadelic putting down some seriously funky grooves and psychedelic guitar.  Have a listen to “Maggot Brain”, recorded in one take in 1971.  Legend has it that George Clinton told Eddie Hazel to imagine he had been told his mother was dead, but then learned that it was not true.  Enjoy the ride.

How To Read Guitar Tab

Guitar tab is a method of getting guitar music on paper without having to read music. The advantage of tab is it is relatively easy to learn and you can be learning songs very soon after learning to read it. The disadvantage is tab has no rhythm notation so can be tricky to learn songs you are not familiar with.

Example 1

The horizontal lines represent the six strings on the guitar. The thickest E string is at the bottom up to the thinnest E string at the top. You read tab from left to right so the first three notes in the above example would be played one at a time.

The numbers on the lines tell you which fret to play. The first note you would play on the above example is the 3rd fret on the A String.

A zero represents an open string, so the second note on the above example is an open D string. The third note would be the second fret on the G string.

When the notes are stacked on top of each other like at the end of the above example this means you play the notes at the same time. Hopefully if you play the last stack of notes together you should end up with an A Major chord.

There are many more symbols associated with tab but we will learn these as we go along.

Guitar Chords For Beginners

These are some of the most commonly used beginners chords.  You will often see these chords on sheet music and guitar tabs.  The chords are the same on acoustic and electric guitar.  The fingerings I have put on them are the ones I normally use and teach but feel free to use your own if you prefer.

Next: How to read guitar tab

Choosing a guitar cable

Guitarists are notoriously obsessive about their sound.  We spend hours, weeks, months, possibly years searching for the elusive sound we hear in our head.  We work hard, save our money, sign the credit agreement, for the latest megawatt all tube modelling digital amp. Endlessly search through magazines and the Internet looking for the perfect guitar and countless hours stomping on stomp boxes and editing patches all in pursuit of the perfect sound.  After spending all this time and money looking for the perfect equipment we then go down the local music store and buy a length of bell wire to connect it all together.

Having been playing for over 25 years ive been through a few guitar cables in my time. Can anyone remember the curly cables that used to stretch so far and then twang out the front of your amp or worse still pull your amp off the chair it was on.  I remember in the 80’s all cables had to be day glow yellow or vomit green.  How many times have you bought a cable with a lifetime guarantee that six months later fails mid gig.  Nowadays the ends are sealed so in the event of it breaking you can’t re solder the end.
This minor irritation was starting to become a major headache when, mid gig as usual, another cable bit the dust.  I then did something I should have done years ago.  A quick Internet search brought up a list of suppliers of quality cables and a few days later I had my shiny new cables.  Guitar cables DO affect your tone.  I could not  believe the difference when I cranked my amp up at the next rehearsal.  The sound was tighter, clearer, and much more punchier.  The cables are thicker than usual and the jacks feel much sturdier. 

The cables cost around £40 each which seems expensive but put this in to perspective. You spend £1000 on an amp and £1000 on a guitar so £40 to connect them together properly is not much.

So remember choose your cables carefully.  Find a lead that is of suitable quality to connect your hard earned instruments together and be prepared to spend a bit more time selecting cables.

It’s all in the details.